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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

ANC Centenary Seminar looks at the role of women in the liberation struggle
2012-03-22

 

At the ANC Centenary Seminar were, from the left: Nadine Lake, ProgrammeDirector: Gender Studies, at the UFS; Prof. Hassim; Zubeida Jaffer, Writer-in-Residence at the UFS; and Senovia Welman from the UFS-Sasol Library.
Photo: Amanda Tongha
22 March 2012


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Looking back at the history of South African politics you will always find women involved in that history.”

This is according to Prof. Shireen Hassim, a professor in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, who recently spoke at an ANC Centenary Seminar, held on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). The seminar is part of a series of dialogues hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies about the ruling party’s 100 years of existence. It was the first one to be held following the 100 year celebrations of the ANC in January 2012 and was dedicated to the ANC Women’s League. Prof. Hassim told the audience that from early roles as wives who provided catering and entertainment, women have always been politically active in the African National Congress (ANC).

Women took the lead in the defiance campaign, going beyond the role of tea lady of the 1910s. When the ANC went into exile, the women’s section, as it was called then, played an important role.” Prof. Hassim also praised independent women’s organisations for the role they had played during the struggle and added that they were part of the collective history.

Talking about today’s Women’s League, Prof. Hassim said there had been debate about its current role with some critics labelling the league conservative. “In recent years, they have become very allied to internal battles.”

According to Prof. Hassim, a new language was needed that could give voice to the policies that needed to be developed.She drew attention to the plight of rural women, saying that thus far urban women have been taking the lead in defining issues. She warned that legislation like the Traditional Courts Bill would put rural women at a disadvantage. Prof. Hassim said the Bill was not rigorously debated, despite the high number of women in Parliament.

 

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